No Contempt for Rhode Island Lawyer Cited for Interrupting Judge

September 19, 2014

A Workers’ Compensation Court judge has agreed to not cite a lawyer for criminal contempt for interrupting her earlier this month.

The Providence Journal reports that Stephen J. Dennis spent an hour in a courthouse jail cell Sept. 3 after Associate Judge Janette A. Bertness ordered him handcuffed and removed from her courtroom.

A court transcript shows Bertness said the Providence attorney interrupted her while she was questioning him about why he missed a scheduled 10 a.m. appearance for a client.

He also had to pay a $250 fine.

Dennis’ lawyer, Amato A. DeLuca, said at a hearing Wednesday that a criminal contempt citation would harm Dennis’ reputation and potentially affect his ability to practice. It could also affect his malpractice insurance rates.

Dennis apologized to the judge

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